Speaking at the inauguration of the second Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that in May 2014, the people of India had ushered in a ‘new normal’ by voting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power in a landslide.
“My fellow Indians spoke in one voice to entrust my government with the mandate of change,” the PM said.
Stressing that the world needs India to rise as much as India needs the world, Modi said “our desire to change the country has an indivisible link with the external world.”
“For multiple reasons, and at multiple levels world is growing through profound changes. Non-state actors are significant contributors to the spread of challenges we face,” the PM asserted in a reference to Pakistan-based terrorism affecting India.
He said that a ‘thriving, well connected and integrated neighbourhood’ was the dream he wished to realise.
“I had also travelled to Lahore, but India cannot walk the path of peace alone,” Modi said hinting at Pakistan’s unwillingness to respond to his overtures for peace.
“My vision for our neighbourhood led me to invite leaders of all SAARC neighbours including Pakistan for my swearing in. But Pakistan must walk away from the path of terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue with India,” the PM said.
The 66-year-old PM said that countries must show respect for each other’s core concerns for the relationship to be managed properly. In this regard, he said he had engaged with US President-elect Donald Trump and agreed to keep on building the gains made in the Indo-US strategic partnership.
On Russia, which some people feel has moved away from India due to its increasing closeness with the United States, Modi said ‘Russia is an abiding friend. President Putin and I have held long conversations.”
Stressing that the world was a multi-polar place today, far removed from its bi-polar nature of the Cold War times, Modi said people of India need to guard against any inclination that promotes exclusion, specially in Asia, which also has many power centres.